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Here Come Da Judge!

Jesus says, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” For three years, Peter is sponge-like, soaking in this modern, new brand of teaching. It starts to click at Pentecost, but the leadership, changing epiphany moment comes during that visionary, rooftop encounter in Caesarea (Acts 10). He is to meet with Cornelius, but Peter’s own tradition prohibits him from having anything much to do with Gentiles: ‘It is unlawful for a Jew to associate with or to visit a Gentile’ (V. 28)—legalistic, judgmental, managerial thinking. “Here come da judge!”

Peter listens to Cornelius’ story and then says, ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him’ (vv. 34,35)—fair, impartial, non-judgmental thinking. Peter has his peace disturbed through the activity of the Holy Spirit. There comes a point when we all need to have our peace disturbed.

It was during this sudden intuitive leap of understanding that Peter was fully transformed from manager to leader. All of the teaching he had absorbed, sponge-like, came flooding out through his spiritual pores.

The autocratic, hierarchical conditioning surfaced in Peter when Jesus, his leader, stooped to wash his feet. Peter had objected then, but now he understood. The exclusive, rigid, reactive managerial conditioning style surfaced when Jesus, his leader, mingled with lepers, tax collectors and prostitutes. Peter had recoiled then, but now he understood. The fearful, status quoin, risk-less conditioning took over when Jesus, his leader, was taken to Calvary. Peter denied Him then, but now he understood.

The light came on and Peter finally got it. It didn’t happen overnight. It took three years of mentoring, the Holy Spirit and a prayer induced vision to bring it all to fruition. Peter now fully grasps the priority and power of inclusive, compassionate, mission-minded leadership.

Acts 10 refers to an important transitional time, when God was leading the church in an entirely new direction, leadership wise. Looking around me today, I can't help but wonder. Has managerial exclusivity again taken predominance over compassionate inclusivity? Is the Spirit calling the Church and the Army in an entirely new direction today?

It is the purpose of this blog (“Love Leads”) to raise the hard questions without being judgmental. Every circumstance differs, so you, dear reader, will have to be the judge.

"Here Come Da Judge! Here Come Da Judge!"

(Lines in a sketch made famous by the late comedian, Flip Wilson)


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